Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content

The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund

Graduate Environmental Internships

The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund was established in 1984 in New York through a bequest from the estate of Margaret Sussman in memory of her mother, Edna Bailey Sussman. Margaret Sussman was a 1934 graduate of Smith College and a successful artist. Her father, Dr. Otto Sussman, was president and director of American Metal Company, the predecessor of AMAX, Inc. later acquired by Freeport McMoran. Margaret Sussman became interested in environmental issues through explorations of the American west with her father. It is fitting that the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund sponsors research and internships that apply hard science to solving existing environmental problems.

The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund supports self-initiated internships for students matriculated in graduate degree programs at "member" US universities, currently: SUNY ESF, the Colorado School of Mines, Duke University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, the University of Michigan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Yale University, and Clark University. SUNY ESF graduate students benefit tremendously from continuing generosity of the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund. Between 1985 and 2022, 457 SUNY ESF graduate students received more than $2.75 million to pursue internships addressing environmental issues.

Internship Requirements

The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund will provide support to students matriculated in graduate programs at SUNY ESF. Internships must meet the following conditions:

  1. The Intern position would not have been filled if the organization had to compensate the Intern out of its own funds.
  2. The Intern will be utilized in an assignment involving the preservation of wildlife, the control of pollution, the preservation of natural land resources, or similar subjects related to the environment of the United States.
  3. The Intern will not be utilized in sales, production, or any other capacity not directly related to the environment.
  4. The Intern will not act as a lobbyist, nor will the host organization be one whose primary function is to lobby.
  5. The Internship will occur in the United States or its territories and have a US-focus.
  6. The Internship will not exclusively take place on the SUNY ESF campus, it's research facilities or centers, or its extended properties (ESF labs or other technical facilities may be used to analyze samples, etc. that the host organization may not be able to provide).
  7. SUNY ESF may submit a maximum number of proposals that must meet minimal criteria as established by the Campus Coordinator. The maximum number of proposals accepted by the Sussman Trustees is established each year immediately prior to the application deadline. In 2022, ESF was be permitted to submit 11 proposals, 10 of which were funded; due to market conditions impacting the endowment supporting the fund, we anticipate making 9 nominations for review in 2023.
  8. As in past years, EBS Trustees are particularly interested in considering proposals relating to the urban environment or climate change.


The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund provides financial support for graduate students who are currently matriculated in graduate degree programs (MS, MF, MLA, MPS, or PhD) at SUNY ESF. Applications from students who are currently applying for admission into graduate programs cannot be accepted. Faculty, staff and undergraduate students are not eligible to apply for Sussman Funds. Students who have been placed upon academic probation are not eligible.

Amount of Support

In 2023, the Sussman Foundation will pay interns a maximum of $25 per hour, for up to 35 hours per week, for 13 weeks.

Students may request support for internships conducted during any time of the year, but most internship proposals request funding within the summer. The Fund does not provide any direct or indirect costs, tuition, scholarships, or health insurance benefits.

Application Requirements

Please note—This year's application process is significantly abbreviated from the past! It includes:

  • Cover page (PDF form distributed to all grads via email on 11/30/22)
  • Second page (if needed) to continue the narrative description of the proposed internship project.
  • Student's current Curriculum Vitae

The Sussman trustees have acknowledged that there is limited space to describe the project, but ask that you think of this as an "elevator" speech given to a prospective funder. Except for the requested curriculum vitae, please do not submit any additional information beyond what is requested in the application form. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please send the single PDF application file via e-mail to

Final Report

Interns must submit a digital copy of a final report to the Sussman Fund to the Graduate School at A lengthy final report is unnecessary--generally 3-5 pages is enough.

Process and Deadlines

Deadlines Instructions

Potential 2023 Applicants:Semester Break 2022

  • Meet with faculty advisor to discuss the potential for appropriate internship experiences.
  • Seek suggestions for possible hosts and supervisors.
  • Seek a host organization. The organization may be public, private, or not-for-profit. It is appropriate for the student to use their academic plan to guide discussions with the potential supervisor at the host organization to reach agreement on the nature of the internship. Most projects ultimately support MS or PhD thesis/dissertation projects. Speak with your major professor and to The ESF Job & Career Serices website for suggestions for environmental internship resources.

January 15th, 2023 - 11:59pm

submit one (1) digital (PDF only) copy of the complete application to the Sussman coordinator. (email:

January 16-28, 2023 – 28 February, 2022

Campus review of Sussman proposals and notification of proposal revisions to applicants by e-mail.
March 2023 Internship Award decisions made by Sussman Trustees. Applicants notified by e-mail

December 1, 2023

Final reports due from 2022 Sussman Interns (submitted as MS Word docs via e-mail)

Final Report: 
Interns must submit a digital copy (MS Word ONLY) of a final report to the Sussman Fund (send e-mail to by the deadline at the end of the semester following the internship. A lengthy final report is unnecessary -- generally 3-5 pages are sufficient. Sussman internship reports will be posted below on the ESF Sussman website in January each year. Campus Review: Sussman Internship applications are reviewed first by a campus committee chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School and including up to 4 faculty who have supervised past Sussman Interns. This review process results in narrowing the number of proposals from 25-35 or more, to 9 to be forwarded as official ESF nominations to the Sussman Foundation Trustees in 2023. All final decisions regarding internship awards are made by the Sussman Trustees, and may be fewer than our maximum allocation of 9 submitted proposals.

Criteria for Campus Evaluation

  • Completeness of application
    Are all required materials complete and with original signatures?
  • Quality of proposal
    Proposals must demostrate good command of the English language in the active verb tense. Proposals must be written for an educated lay-audience, not for scholarly publication or peer review(do not write like an NSF proposal!). Graduate students are expected to write to various audiences and explain in their own words the purpose of their research. If it is necessary and appropriate to include a citation, then the proposal is too technical. Above all, proposals should clearly state a central purpose and/or research hypothesis, followed by a concise work plan articulating the use of sound science, design, and/or best practices to address an environmental issue. For your use, please consider looking at our local evaluation form; this does not provide a hard and fast set of criteria that are foolproof, but should provide greater insight into how the local faculty evaluate the application pool to determine the nominations to be forwarded on the Sussman Trustees.
  • Reasonable duration of internship 
    Internships for a full-time, 13 week duration will be given priority. There is NO benefit to proposing less than the full-13 weeks and the funds needed to support that time period.

Remember, Sussman will not support work conducted at ESF, or its research centers, or outside the US or its territories.